BJP, PM Modi against GST Bill; not Congress: Jairam Ramesh
Bhubaneswar: Denying allegations that Congress is against the GST Bill, senior leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday claimed that actually BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are opposed to it.
"The truth is that BJP, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah do not want GST but they are putting the blame on Congress," Ramesh claimed and asked BJP leaders to refrain from spreading "falsehood."
Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha had yesterday charged that Congress is stalling the bill.
Claiming that the GST bill is unable to see the green light because Modi is not in favour of the measure, Ramesh said the BJP government in Gujarat had also opposed the bill.
"Congress has already made it amply clear that it is not at all against the GST bill. We want its passage as early as possible. It was during UPA government that the bill was introduced in Parliament," Ramesh told reporters here.
He termed the whole exercise of the Centre to get the bill passed, including Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu's meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to seek support for the bill, as an "eyewash and drama."
After the GST Bill was introduced in Parliament in March, 2011 by the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, it went to the standing committee on finance chaired by a senior BJP leader which gave its report two and half years later, after "undue" delay as Gujarat government and Modi were against it, the senior Congress leader said.
Ramesh said Congress only wants three changes in the existing bill to make it really "good and simple tax" which would benefit the consumers and not the industry.
Terming the present bill as neither good nor simple but only tax, he said Congress has sought a ceiling of 18 per cent, removal of additional one per cent tax and setting up of a judicial body and mechanism to address disputes between states and between state and the Centre.
The moment these three conditions are agreed to and necessary modifications made, Congress would ensure that the GST Bill is passed as soon as possible, Ramesh said adding the government is yet to respond to the proposals in a positive way.